The United States has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council, the latest U.S. rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The move comes as the United States faces intense criticism for taking children away from their immigrant parents at the U.S.-Mexico border and keeping them in cages. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein on Monday called on Washington to halt its "unconscionable" policy. Twelve rights and aid groups, including Human Rights First, Save the Children and CARE, warned that U.S. withdrawal would "make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world."
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that calls for separating families who cross the border illegally, saying the undocumented immigrants shouldn't get special treatment. "That's no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States -- when an adult of a family commits a crime," she told NPR. "If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family." "Illegal aliens should not get just different rights because they happen to be illegal aliens," she added.
President Donald Trump suggested Saturday that he is using his administration's separation of families at the US border as a negotiating tool to get Democrats to cave on his immigration demands, which include funding for a border wall, curbing legal immigration into the US, and tightening the rules for border enforcement. Trump again falsely blamed Democrats for his administration's actions, and said they could put a stop to the family separations by working with Republicans in Congress. Nearly 2,000 immigrant children were separated from parents over a period of about six weeks in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. read more
State lawmakers approved a $139 billion budget Thursday. The budget, which boosts spending 9 percent for the fiscal year beginning July 1, was approved with support mainly from Democrats. ... California is riding a wave of economic growth that has produced the largest surplus since at least 2000. Even the most conservative forecast pegs the surplus at nearly $9 billion. ... The budget will boost assistance for people living in poverty, including more than 13,000 new slots for subsidized child care. People on CalWorks, the state welfare program, will see monthly grants rise by 10 percent in April, the start of a multiyear effort to lift the income of the poorest Californians to 50 percent of the federal poverty level. Advocates said the boost would ensure children aren't living in deep poverty, which harms their brain development and hinders future performance in school and work. read more
President Donald Trump, under growing pressure to act unilaterally to address the immigration crisis, said Wednesday that he would be "signing something" soon that would keep immigrant families together. "I'll be signing something in a little while that's going to do that," Trump told pool reporters regarding the crisis over children being separated from parents who cross illegally into the U.S. He later said he would sign an executive order. On Friday he said, "You can't do it through an executive order." read more
Paul Manafort is going to jail. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday morning to revoke his bail, meaning the president's former campaign chairman will be incarcerated until his July trial. The move came after Special Counsel Bob Mueller's team moved for the judge to change the terms of Manafort's bail. Mueller's team alleged that Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnick -- a former Manafort colleague of Manafort's who the special counsel recently indicted -- tampered with witnesses in the months after being charged with a host of crimes.
The Trump administration on Tuesday issued a finalized rule that will enable millions of Americans to buy skimpy health insurance plans that do not comply with key Obamacare coverage requirements, marking its latest effort to chip away at the healthcare law. The rule, which the U.S. Department of Labor will post Tuesday, allows small businesses and those who are self-employed to band together and buy lower-cost health insurance policies, similar to large employers. read more
Josh Marshall: Over recent days I've been noting abundant evidence from the DOJ Inspector General's report, Rep. Devin Nunes and other sources of clear anti-Clinton animus on the part of senior FBI Agents in the New York FBI Field Office and among retired agents with whom they were apparently in contact. It seems clear that members of that office leaked word of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop more or less immediately to Capitol Hill Republicans and at least one top Trump campaign surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, to create pressure to reopen the Clinton probe.
Laura Bush: On Sunday, a day we as a nation set aside to honor fathers and the bonds of family, I was among the millions of Americans who watched images of children who have been torn from their parents. In the six weeks between April 19 and May 31, the Department of Homeland Security has sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care. More than 100 of these children are younger than 4 years old. ... Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma ... [I]t is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents -- and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.
It's not exactly a secret that the way America measures economic growth can leave regular people wondering why and how they're still struggling just to survive. Unemployment, as President Trump took care to remind us with another unhinged and hyperbolic tweet this week, is at an almost 50-year low. After a spectacular 2017 and iffy early stretch this year, the stock market is once again trading high. Banks just enjoyed their most profitable quarter ever, encouraging the chair of the Federal Reserve -- Wall Street vet and Trump pick Jerome Powell -- to declare the economy in "great shape" Wednesday, and even raise interest rates on the debt owed by millions of Americans. On the surface, things look good, right? read more